From the Federal Trade Commission —

Sorry to burst your bubble. That unexpected text from the Postal Service (USPS), Costco, or The Home Depot telling you about an unclaimed package or a survey you can complete to claim a freebie is NOT from them. It’s a scam.

The FTC has seen a spike in reports from people getting text messages that look like they’re from well-known names like USPS, Costco, or The Home Depot and others. Spoiler alert: they’re from impersonators. The details vary, but the scammers are after the same thing: your money and your personal information. You may get a text from scammers pretending to be USPS and asking you to confirm your debit card details so you can get an undelivered package. Or you might get texts about a chance to win a free gift card or a power tool. To claim your “reward,” you’re told to click on the link, answer some questions, and pay for shipping. Don’t do it.

If you click on those links and submit your card information, you’ll ending up with nothing — but you’ll find unauthorized charges posted to your account.

No matter what the unexpected text says, the advice is the same.

  • Don’t click on links or respond to unexpected texts — including ones asking you to fill out surveys to get free items. If you think it could be legit, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real. Don’t use the information in the text message.
  • Don’t pay to get a package redelivered. The real USPS won’t contact you out of the blue about a delivery (unless you submitted a request first and give a tracking number) — and they’ll never demand payment to redeliver a package.

Already paid or gave your information to a scammer? Check out the FTC article, What to Do If You Were Scammed, to learn more about asking for a refund. And see what to do next if your identity has been stolen.

Have you spotted an impersonation scam? Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Read more about the FTC’s rulemaking proposal to combat impersonation scams.

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